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US bans shrimp imports from Mexico based on inadequate sea turtle protections

US bans shrimp imports from Mexico based on inadequate sea turtle protections
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The United States on Friday announced a ban on shrimp imported from Mexico after the country failed to adhere to mandated sea turtle protections during shrimp harvesting, The Associated Press reports.

The U.S. "suspended the certification of Mexico because its sea turtle protection program is no longer comparable to that of the United States," the State Department said.

The U.S. ordered that Mexico put protections in place ensuring sea turtles don't get caught in trawl nets, industrial sized nets dragged underwater that often result in by-catch, or unintentionally caught animals. Mexico enacted a requirement that fishermen use sea-turtle-exclusion devices on the nets to prevent this from happening, but for unknown reasons the U.S. State Department determined the expectations were not being met.

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Mexico said Friday it will work to regain its certification by implementing a "more aggressive program of inspection and oversight."

The AP notes that the U.S. is the primary consumer of Mexico's wild shrimp exports.

Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which cites trawl nets among the factors causing their demise. 

The majority of animals caught as by-catch suffer injuries or die, contributing to population declines and hampering population recovery, notes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.